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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol VII:
Constitutions of the Holy Apostles: Sec. VIII.—On the Duty of Working for a Livelihood

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Sec. VIII.—On the Duty of Working for a Livelihood.

That a Christian Who Will Not Work Must Not Eat, as Peter and the Rest of the Apostles Were Fishermen, But Paul and Aquila Tentmakers, Jude the Son of James an Husbandman.

LXIII. Let the young persons of the Church endeavour to minister diligently in all necessaries: mind your business with all becoming seriousness, that so you may always have sufficient to support yourselves and those that are needy, and not burden the Church of God. For we ourselves, besides our attention to the word of the Gospel, do not neglect our inferior employments. For some of us are fishermen, some tentmakers, some husbandmen, that so we may never be idle. So says Solomon somewhere: “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways diligently, and become wiser than she. For she, having neither field, overseer, nor ruler, prepareth her food in the summer, and layeth up a great store in the harvest. Or else go to the bee, and learn how laborious she is, and her work how valuable it is, whose labours both kings and mean men make use of for their health. She is desirable and glorious, though she be weak in strength, yet by honouring wisdom she is improved, etc. How long wilt thou lie on thy bed, O sluggard? When wilt thou p. 425 wake out of thy sleep? Thou sleepest awhile thou liest down awhile, thou slumberest awhile, thou foldest thy hands on thy breast to sleep awhile. Then poverty comes on thee like an evil traveller, and want as a swift racer. But if thou beest diligent, thy harvest shall come as a fountain, and want shall fly from thee as an evil runagate.” 2859 And again: “He that manageth his own land shall be filled with bread.” 2860 And elsewhere he says: “The slothful has folded his own hands together, and has eaten his own flesh.” 2861 And afterwards: “The sluggard hides his hand; he will not be able to bring it to his mouth.” 2862 And again: “By slothfulness of the hands a floor will be brought low.” 2863 Labour therefore continually; for the blot of the slothful is not to be healed. But “if any one does not work, let not such a one eat” 2864 among you. For the Lord our God hates the slothful. For no one of those who are dedicated to God ought to be idle.  



Prov. vi. 6, etc., LXX.  


Prov. xii. 11.  


Eccles. iv. 5.  


Prov. xix. 24.  


Eccles. x. 18.  


2 Thess. iii. 10.  

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